Musical 52

Watch 52 musicals, one every week, in 2015.

Slim to none.

Yes, I’ve seen Disney’s animated musicals, because I was a child once. I’ve seen The Sound of Music, because NBC aired it annually for twenty years. I saw Chicago, because what the hell, a musical won Best Picture after 1968? But many of the really big ones, ones you’d think, “Oh, yeah, everybody’s seen that,” I haven’t. All I know about West Side Story is that gangs snap at each other. All I know about Singin’ in the Rain is that there’s probably rain and some singin’ in it. All I know about Rent is AIDS.

Oh, and a song about minutes that I need a calculator to remember.

I’m casting a pretty wide net here: theatrically released movies that are musicals with at least a handful of original songs tied in with the plot. That’s about it. Anything that fits that description counts, and I’ll watch one a week.

That being said… I’m trying to keep my sanity here. So, for the purposes of this experiment, I intend to watch mostly musicals that I’ve never seen before. That should keep the boredom down. Also, as many live action musicals as possible. That’s not a knock against animation, I just want to see plenty of fancy footwork along with these catchy numbers. Though, there’s one animated musical everyone says I should really get around to…


I’m going to try to hit the full array of musicals across the history of film, picking four from each decade to start, then I’ll just grab whatever looks interesting. It’s hard not to spoil these flicks while you’re researching them.

Here are some of the effects I predict from a year of watching musicals.

1) Songs will get stuck in my head. Prior experiments lodged plenty of Kenny Loggins, Huey Lewis, and Howard Shore in my brain. I will be singing and humming everywhere I go.

2) Dancing? Maybe. Not as much as singing, but on a good day, I could see myself doing a little involuntary spinning ’round a lamppost.

As demonstrated here by Frank Sinatra in South Pacific.

3) I’m going to guess that my mood will be more cheerful, for two reasons. First, the musical as a genre tends to be fairly upbeat, and I think that will carry over into my life. Second, the sheer variety of films will be a welcome relief from our past experiments in which I could only watch one flick over and over. Remind me, why did I do that again?

4) I think I’m probably going to watch more than 52 musicals. Just a hunch. I think I’ll become curious and start checking out more from the performers, songwriters, and choreographers that really impress me. Considering the year that I crammed in 156 time travel movies on a whim, 52 musicals is nothing.

5) Oh, shit, musical dreams?? I hope so!

Like this, but I’m naked at school!

Well, that’s that. Everybody ready for Musical 52? Five, six, seven, eight…

The Broadway Melody (1929)